Who is the man that is referred to in the book of Ether as the ‘brother’ of Jared? As far as I can find, there is no other instance where a righteous leader was known in the scriptures only as the brother of someone.

We are first introduced to Jared and his extended family in the first chapter of Ether. We discover that the brother of Jared was a ‘large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord.’ But we also discover that he was not the one to see the need for revelation. From verse 34, in chapter one, we find that Jared repeatedly petitioned his brother to approach the Lord with a righteous request. First, it was that Jared and his brother, then his family, finally his friends not be confounded. In each case the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord and received an answer.

Then, Jared again, asked his brother to inquire of the Lord regarding where they should go. I would suggest that Jared was not a spiritual weakling as he had discerned that the Lord could allow them to travel to a land which is ‘choice above all the earth.’ Again, the Lord responded with directions on where the ‘Jaredites’ should go.

Right in the middle of the dialog, Moroni stops and addresses the Gentiles who will someday populate is land that is choice above all other lands as found in chapter 2, verses 11 and 12:

And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

Here we find another warning to the Gentiles that they will face the wrath of God if they do not serve God. But I digress…

Soon,  the brother of Jared, even though he was characterized as a righteous man, exhibited a lack of judgment. This man was a one who had discussions on a regular basis with the Lord; even to the point where later, the Lord would refer to him one of great faith – “never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast…” Yet, for the space of four years, this man failed to call upon the Lord.

And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him.  And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him.  And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

Here the Lord forgives the whole clan of their sins and cautions them not to sin any more. As I pondered this dialog, the question arose in my mind as to the circumstances presented here. Was this the remission of sins applied to the group? Perhaps.

I also find it interesting here that until we ‘sin until [we] are fully ripe, we are not completely cut off from the presence of the Lord. Until we have lost all desire to seek God, there is still a chance for us to seek His face. I draw some comfort from this because of my wanderings. I do strongly desire to repent and come unto Him. I have come to marvel at the love and patience of God, and His willingness to chasten us – helping us to make the change toward the light.

Why was it not until Joseph Smith, through revelation, identified the brother of Jared as Mahonri Moriancumer (George Reynolds, May 1 1882, Juvenile Instructor)  that we came to know the name of this righteous man? As I pondered this dilemma, I asked the question: What is it what we can learn about a man who didn’t even ‘allow’ his name to be used in connection with the revelations and miracles?

I believe we are to use this righteous example to gain a perspective on how humility can work to bring us great faith and exceeding great revelation and would suggest that the lack of the use of his own name in this record is an indication of his humility. Isn’t it an act of humility to not take credit for events in this written record such as those display through the brother of Jared? Humility was also exhibited by the people of King Benjamin at the time of their baptism of fire. Alma expressed his desire to be a “penitent and humble seeker of happiness.”

We are to be humble, teachable and dismiss pride, envy and all such selfish ventures. This is what brought the brother of Jared to the point where he received the marvelous vision of the entire history of the earth; something repeated to Lehi, Nephi, and Enoch. Something available to each of us is we meet the same criteria.

As the brother of Jared was preparing the barges, he presented the Lord with 16 stones. These stones were to provide light during the long voyage to the land choice above all other lands. In the process of lighting the stones, the Lord’s finger became visible to the brother of Jared and he fell, being struck with fear. Here is the Lord responding to the situation:

And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger… (Ether 3:9)

Here we come to understand that it was the faith of the brother of Jared that allowed him to see the finger of God. Moroni then provides some commentary on the story:

And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.

Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him. (Ether 3:19)

In the very instant of seeing the finger of the Lord, I believe we are being told in this snippit from Moroni that the brother of Jared’s faith turned to knowledge. Because of this knowledge,  the brother of Jared was given to see much more:

For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.

And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.

For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things. (Ether 3:24-26)

This entire history of the earth, from beginning to end, and all the inhabitants thereof, was contained in the vision presented to the brother of Jared. He was then told to write the vision down but was forbidden from sharing it with his people. The information was made available to King Mosiah who translated the plates. subsequently, this information was lost, however, and is found in the sealed portion of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was derived. Moroni describes the situation in Ether, chapter 4, verses 4 and 5.

Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them.  And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

We are told here that ‘there were never greater things made manifest’ than what was seen by the brother of Jared. Moroni was commanded to seal them up for a later time (verses 6 and 7).

For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

Moroni speaks of us in these verses. What must be done to receive the sealed portion of the plates? We must repent and become clean before the Lord. We must exercise the same faith that the brother of Jared demonstrated. And here, also we learn that we must become ‘sanctified’  in Christ.

How important is it for all of us to strive to be acceptable for these ‘greater things.’  Would this information not be of high value? Here again we are presented with the need to be sanctified. How important is it that we clearly understand what it means to be sanctified and what we must do to achieve this condition?

Not much is pronounced from the pulpit these days about the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. It has not apparently passed muster in these days of correlation. What is it that we should be striving for? Are we simply to be good, to be helpful, and be honest? Or are we commanded to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, to be filled with the Holy Ghost and to be sanctified?

I believe the promise we find here is that the presence of a community of the sanctified will be necessary to draw upon the promise of the Lord to reveal the contents of the sealed portion, to behold those things given to the brother of Jared in vision.

What does it take for us to demonstrate the same profound faith as the brother of Jared portrayed? What must we do to repent and become clean before the Lord? I believe the answers to these questions are found among the pages on the Book of Mormon that contain a fulness of the gospel. It is contingent upon a broken heart and a contrite spirit. It is made available to those who seek a remission of their sins. It is granted unto those who have their garments washed in the blood of Christ.

But, what more? Does this virtual gathering represent a glimmer of hope that a group of the sanctified sufficient to receive the revelations of God hidden from the rest of the world may be possible? One can only hope…

In summary, the brother of Jared is held in the scriptures as a model of faith and humility. The recorded vision he was afforded will be made available to us when we can become sanctified.

What think ye?

21 Responses to “The Brother of Jared”

  • jks:

    This reminds me of sunday school one day when someone said they felt sorry for Sam because he was righteous too but Nephi got all the credit and his descendents were called Nephites. What about Nephi’s wife and Nephi’s sisters? Their names weren’t even recorded.
    Many, many times people are referred to only as someone’s wife. My daughter is writing a paper about Of Mice and Men and there is a character who is only referred to as Curley’s wife.
    So it is interesting to me to wonder why the Brother of Jared is simply known as the Brother of Jared. And he is somebody who is written about and plays an active role in the story. The story was written years later so maybe people didn’t remember his name anymore, just Jared’s.
    Humility is an important thing to cultivate. Many of us will never be famous. Our spiritual insights are personal. Our spiritual accomplishments happen in a family, or a primary class, or a visiting teaching assignment. But the Lord knows who we are and that is what matters.

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    • Spektator:

      Thanks for stopping by. I do think the hidden insight of the use of the ‘brother or Jared’ as the name for the main character is to emphasize his humility. We are told we have to be like the brother of Jared if we want to receive the sealed portion of Moron’is record. So… pretty simple, just develop the faith and humility of Mahonri.

  • Log:

    There is an alternative explanation. It is highly likely the Book of Ether was the tribal record of Jared’s line, not his brother’s. So it’s probably not really a matter of humility but simply the lineage of the record-keepers that keeps his name off the records. That’s why we don’t hear of the genealogies of Sam, Zoram, Laman, and Lemuel either unless it’s important to the doctrines and principles involved.

    • Spektator:

      Given that Moroni edited the contents of the 24 plates and injects comments throught the record, I would suggest that he had the opportunity to ‘correct’ the situation. He did not.

      As you say, why was it important from a the perspective of the doctrines involved that we are not given his name? I would again suggest that we are to work to understand the humility demonstrated by this story of the brother of Jared.

      • Log:

        Well, Nibley and several others have agreed with what I said (I got it from them, after all).


        Search for Mahonri. That’s just the first souce I could find.

        I personally feel that’s the likely true explanation: Mahonri’s name was excluded simply because the plates were the history of the lineage of Jared and none others, but your analysis might be the truth.

      • Spektator:

        Having read the reference from the Maxwell institute (a real hotbed of humility), I am not sure that is a solid support of the book being a ‘tribal record.’

        First, the spiritual sections of the story of the brother of Jared are written in first person. Not something you would necessarily expect if the work was a tribal record of Jared.

        Second, the question is who wrote that part of the original plates that were translated into the book of Ether? Was it written (or ghost written) by Jared or was it written by the brother of Jared?

        Moroni answers that question, in my opinion:

        “And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.” Ether 12:24

        Moroni states that the writings of the brother of Jared were ‘mighty.’ One has to assume that the only basis for this assertion was the writings of the 24 plates. I would have to assume that if the brother of Jared wrote at least the section dealing with his experiences, he would have had control over how he was portrayed.

        So, why didn’t he put his own name in his own writings? I again suggest it was a mark of humility.

  • boo:

    This is an interesting analysis. i think the BOJ to be one of the most interesting personalities in the B of M. It has long seem to me that his story is there to show us each one what the possibilities of mortality are. Of even greater interest to me personally are Moroni’s comment at the end of Ether 12;20 . There Moroni says that BOJ’s faith was the result of ” his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith”. I would be interested in your views on this verse , specifically was the word the more sure word of prophecy or something else.

    • Spektator:

      That is an interesting item. In Ether 3, we read that “because of the knowledge of this man, he could not be kept from beholding within the veil.” We also read that “having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil.” The brother of Jared had his ‘faith’ turn to knowledge. Yet, he was still shocked by what that faith had wrought.

      Could the more sure word of prophecy be contained in seeing all the people of the earth as well as its entire history? Perhaps there is a linkage there.

      I would also add that by His word, the worlds were created. This suggests that knowing right ‘words’ can bring power. Did the brother of Jared receive the ‘word’ of God in faith that would not prevent the veil from hiding heaven? Is that available to each one of us?

      I am still taken back by the challenge here that we must, as a community, develop the same faith as the brother of Jared if we are to receive the sealed portion.

      • Rob:

        I think you are spot on. And remember, the revelation of what Moriancumr received is available through revelation to individuals, even if the plates are not delivered to the president of the church and translated due to collective wickedness.

  • JR:

    OK, here’s something to think about. What was the BOJ doing when he saw the Lord? Was he praying for a vision? Was he praying to have the BFHG? Not at all. He was going about his life, doing what had to be done to get thru the day…and suddenly as he is asking for some help with a seemingly small problem, WHAM! He sees the finger of the Lord and then is face to face with the God of the Universe and seeing a vision of the whole spectrum of human existance. That is how I have seen it in my life, not that I have had all that BOJ had given to him, but the greatest events happened when I wasn’t even looking for them to happen. My take, go about doing good, find joy in everyday things and leave the timing of blessings to the Lord. HE IS IN CONTROL and knows what HE is doing.
    Just my take…

    • Rob:

      I think that is a really good point. I also, however, know of a bunch of scriptures that tell us explicitly to seek Jesus. D&C 93:1 for example. Is it possible we are expected to do both? To pray and pray as if it was the most important thing, but then to get up and get to work, waiting on the Lord?

  • Spektator:

    How true it is that we have no control over the timing of the blessings or visitation of heaven.

    The brother of Jared, in his faith, believed that God could solve his problem, but that he had to ‘construct’ a vessel to hold the power of the touch of God, in this case the stones of glass. In a similar way, we need to do our part in preparing, with faith, to receive the light of the Lord. I really like the symbology found in this story.

  • Log:

    Having read the reference from the Maxwell institute (a real hotbed of humility), I am not sure that is a solid support of the book being a ‘tribal record.’

    First, the spiritual sections of the story of the brother of Jared are written in first person. Not something you would necessarily expect if the work was a tribal record of Jared.

    The Book of Ether omits not only the Brother of Jared’s name, but also those of his descendants, excepting Pagag (Ether 6:25), who was chosen to be the king of the people, but he declined. The people chose one of the sons of Jared and that is the last we hear of any of the descendants of the Brother of Jared (see, for example, Ether 11:17, which cannot be plausibly attributed to the humility of the unnamed descendant of the BoJ). This practice of omitting the names of all but the royal lineage, according to Nibley, is consistent with the heroic literature of the era in which it was written. Nibley being an authority on ancient literature, I am inclined to believe him.

    Second, the question is who wrote that part of the original plates that were translated into the book of Ether? Was it written (or ghost written) by Jared or was it written by the brother of Jared?

    Moroni answers that question, in my opinion:

    “And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.” Ether 12:24

    Moroni states that the writings of the brother of Jared were ‘mighty.’ One has to assume that the only basis for this assertion was the writings of the 24 plates. I would have to assume that if the brother of Jared wrote at least the section dealing with his experiences, he would have had control over how he was portrayed.

    What we have is the Book of Ether, written by Ether who was a descendant of Jared, and abridged by Moroni (Ether 1:1, 5-6). One might plausibly assume the mighty things the Brother of Jared wrote that Moroni was speaking of was the vision of all which the Brother of Jared wrote in a dead language that none could read after him except by means of the seer stones (Ether 3:22-28). Ether included this content in his book but Moroni, after translating it, sealed it by command of the Lord (Ether 4:5), and Joseph did not translate it (Ether 5:1). We don’t have the Brother of Jared’s writings, therefore, but the writings of Ether, descendant of Jared, of the royal lineage, who controlled how everything was portrayed.

  • Log:

    Clarification – that is the last we hear of the *names* of any of the descendants of the Brother of Jared.

  • Rob:

    I agree with the author about why his name is not present. I asked the Lord and that’s the answer I got via the Spirit. See also John, who never refers to himself in his gospel. I personally don’t think Moroni/Mormon knew what Moriancumr’s name was, either.

    • Log:

      What is your explanation for Ether 11:17?

      • Rob:

        It supports your position. However, it does not imply that mine is wrong. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • Log:

        That’s true; they are not mutually exclusive. However, if the “lineage history” thesis is correct, then your position is akin to appealing to rain to explain why a kid swimming in a pool is wet.

  • JRSG:

    I have been searching for help to understand the Gospel better, and learn the deeper meanings of doctrine. Sites like this one help me greatly. I read many different sites for information. It is impossible to really learn anything new in church anymore. Weekly, monthly and yearly the same concepts are taught over and over. I realize that the basics are important especially for converts. But the church should offer classes for those who want to dig deeper and understand more. So thank you for digging deeper and offering other ways of looking at doctrine and Scripture. (going off topic quickly – I too think the higher up leaders have gone off course concerning the Saints and Christ’s church)
    Thanks again for thought provoking topics and to all who give their opinions and understanding of these things.

  • Spektator:


    Thanks for stopping by. In my opinion, the best way to understand the gospel better is to immerse yourself in the scriptures and employ the spirit. I am continually amazed at the insights I have received from reading the same passage at different times.

    I hope the questions I have asked in my posts open windows to the wisdom and knowledge available to the seeker.

  • Joe:

    Hi – first-time commentator here. A few thoughts related to this post. The brother of Jared’s name is not given so that you (the reader) can more easily insert your own name, as if reading it from the perspective that the story is about how you can approach God. Also, why does the brother of Jared always ask what Jared tells him to ask? Perhaps it was part of a prayer circle where Jared was the head and everyone else in the circle repeated what he said (including the brother of Jared). In Ether 3, the brother of Jared prays using pronouns such as ‘us’ and ‘we’ (as well as ‘I’). Maybe he wasn’t alone when he prayed. If not, it is likely that at least Jared was with him.

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